Posted by: adbhutam | June 7, 2022

Brahman alone appearing as the jiva: Yajnavalkya Smriti

Certain special aspects can be found in the ‘Prayaschitta kAnda’ of the Yajnavalkya Smriti.

Shankaracharya has quoted the Yajnavalkya Smriti as a reference in the Sanat Sujatiya Bhashya on the topic: Brahman alone appearing as the jiva.

Some passages from this Smriti:

याज्ञवल्क्यस्मृतिः/प्रायश्चित्ताध्यायः/यतिधर्मप्रकरणम्
https://sa.wikisource.org/s/3ob

निमित्तं अक्षरः कर्ता बोद्धा ब्रह्म गुणी वशी ।
अजः शरीरग्रहणात्स जात इति कीर्त्यते । । ३.६९ । ।

Brahman, who has no birth in reality, comes to be a jiva owing to associating with the body. This is the same Brahman that the Upanishads specify as the cause of the world.

The verses in between here remind one of the scheme in the Purusha suktam.
अनादिरात्मा संभूतिर्विद्यते नान्तरात्मनः ।
समवायी तु पुरुषो मोहेच्छाद्वेषकर्मजः । । ३.१२५ । ।

Even though there is no actual birth, the soul (Brahman) is born owing to desire, etc. This is reminiscent of the Nrisimha Tapini Upanishad:

स वा एष भूतानीन्द्रियाणि विराजं देवताः कोशांश्च सृष्ट्वा प्रविश्यामूढो मूढ इव व्यवहरन्नास्ते माययैव तस्मादद्वय एवायमात्मा सन्मात्रो नित्यः शुद्धो बुद्धः सत्यो मुक्तो निरञ्जनो विभुरद्वयानन्दः परः प्रत्यगेकरसः प्रमाणैरेतैरवगतः सत्तामात्रं हीदं सर्वं सदेव पुरस्तात्सिद्धं हि ब्रह्म…

This Upanishad states that ‘Brahman, the Creator of the universe, though not deluded appears as though deluded. This sentence of the Upanishad is cited by Sayanacharya in the Purusha Suktam while commenting on the passage: ‘ 

सर्वाणि रूपाणि विचित्य धीरः नामानि कृत्वा अभिवदन् यदास्ते ..’
यद्येवं स कथं ब्रह्मन्पापयोनिषु जायते ।
ईश्वरः स कथं भावैरनिष्टैः संप्रयुज्यते । । ३.१२९ । ।

In this Yajnavalkya Smriti, it has been deliberated as to how Brahman comes to take birth even though it is pure.

This verse is quoted by Shankara in the Sanatsujatiya Bhashya.

आकाशं एकं हि यथा घटादिषु पृथग्भवेत् ।
तथात्मा एको ह्यनेकश्च जलाधारेष्विवांशुमान् । । ३.१४४ । ।

The Smriti says  the One only soul (Brahman) seems to take many forms just as the same one-only ether is spoken of to be many owing to limiting adjuncts, upadhis. This analogy is most famous in Advaita.

अनादिरादिमांश्चैव स एव पुरुषः परः ।
लिङ्गेन्द्रियग्राह्यरूपः सविकार उदाहृतः । । ३.१८३ । ।

One Supreme Brahman, without any beginning, appears to be transformed into many bodies.
अहंकारः स्मृतिर्मेधा द्वेषो बुद्धिः सुखं धृतिः ।
इन्द्रियान्तरसंचार इच्छा धारणजीविते । । ३.१७४ । ।
स्वर्गः स्वप्नश्च भावानां प्रेरणं मनसो गतिः ।
निमेषश्चेतना यत्न आदानं पाञ्चभौतिकम् । । ३.१७५ । ।
यत एतानि दृश्यन्ते लिङ्गानि परमात्मनः ।
तस्मादस्ति परो देहादात्मा सर्वग ईश्वरः । । ३.१७६ । ।
बुद्धीन्द्रियाणि सार्थानि मनः कर्मेन्द्रियाणि च ।
अहंकारश्च बुद्धिश्च पृथिव्यादीनि चैव हि । । ३.१७७ । ।
अव्यक्तं आत्मा क्षेत्रज्ञः क्षेत्रस्यास्य निगद्यते ।
ईश्रवः सर्वभूतस्थः सन्नसन्सदसच्च यः । । ३.१७८ । ।

In the above verses it is said that there is a Consciousness which is different from the body. This is the Sentient being that illuminates the entire  not-self and is present in all bodies. This is the subject of chapter 13 of the Bhagavad Gita. 

Thus, the Yajnavalkya Smriti accepts only one principle which is different from the body. This is the true nature of the Atman in Advaita.

Thus many doctrinal aspects of Advaita can be found in this  Yajnavalkya Smriti that belongs to very ancient times.
Om Tat Sat


Responses

  1. Where can I read Adi shankara’s sanat sujatiya bhasya online?

    • I have a PDF of this text Sanat Sujatiya Bhashya. Recently I found an archive edition of the same text but within the text I found many discrepancies compared to the one that I have. In case you are interested I would transfer the PDF which I have to you. Please let me know your email id or any other contact.


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